What does having multiple orgasms feel like?

orgasm

In some ways, any conversation about the female orgasm is defunct before it even starts. After all, little is known about it, it varies hugely for every woman, and, for a lot of women it comes with no sudden physical ejaculation of fluid as it does with a man, rendering the entire thing a much more subjective and interiorised experience.

And yet, perhaps this is all the more reason to talk about it, not only from a scientific point of view, but a socio-cultural one too. In general, when it comes to sex with a partner, men have more orgasms than women. A 2018 study on the subject surveyed 52,600 people, and the results are telling: straight men reported orgasming 95% of the time. Straight women? 65% of the time. For lesbian women, however, this figure leapt to 86%.

So it’s not simply the case, as many (men) would hope, that women just don’t orgasm as much in general, but rather it takes more skill, and more patience. Taking into account that 75% of women never orgasm from intercourse alone, and the fact that men come in about four minutes while women take up to twenty minutes, the problem begins to become clear. And so, any discussion that broaches women’s oft-overlooked orgasms is probably worthwhile.

The problem is, while these discussions they can be hugely beneficial, perhaps helping women learn more about themselves and their own anatomy, it also adds pressure. When conversations drift on to the G-spot and suchlike, it can leave some feeling jaded: How does she do that? Why can’t I do that? Is there something wrong with me? (No – the existence of the G-spot remains disputed).

Some scientists have speculated that the contractions of the vagina that occur when you orgasm are supposed to help “catch” the sperm and push it towards the womb, a phenomenon known somewhat offputtingly as “up-sucking” in these academic circles.

Which brings us to the ‘multiple orgasm’. Unsurprisingly, a quick google search around the subject takes you to articles written for men telling them how to give “their girl” multiple orgasms. But is it that simple? What even is a multiple orgasm? How many multiples and in what timespan?

Why are women able to have multiple orgasms?

Why women are blessed with the ability to have a streak of orgasms and men not remains unclear. Indeed, we don’t even really know why a woman comes at all. After all – we can reproduce without ever having had an orgasm. This doesn’t stop theories abounding.

Some scientists have speculated that the contractions of the vagina that occur when you orgasm are supposed to help “catch” the sperm and push it towards the womb, a phenomenon known somewhat offputtingly as “up-sucking” in these academic circles.

Others believe the vaginal muscles tightening around the penis make it more stimulating for a male sexual partner, although obviously if this is the case then evolution didn’t develop a plan B for the amount of women who fake orgasms.

What we do know is that the average female orgasm is estimated to last around 20 seconds and involves contractions of the muscles in the vagina, uterus, and anus. MRI scans conducted during studies have also shown considerable activity in many areas of the brain as a woman reaches orgasm.

What is a multiple orgasm?

Among professionals, a clear definition for multiple orgasms hasn’t really been reached, partly because what might be one woman’s multiple might simply be two orgasms, with a gap between them, for another.

One study has shown that the same contractions occur in multiple orgasms that happen one after the other, but gradually decrease in intensity, suggesting even in multiple orgasms in very quick succession each orgasm is “individual” in its own right.

Sex therapist Dr Juliana Morris believes that not only can we differentiate between multiple orgasms and one orgasm (as we do with vaginal orgasm and clitoral orgasm), there a few different types of multiple orgasm.

“When the initial orgasm arrives, there is this tingling sensation as if it isn’t over. Then, there is a small dip that sometimes requires a little extra stimulation, and then an orgasm arrives again, and then there is a repetition, three or four times, with everything in the span of 15 minutes tops.”

“One is called compound singles,” she says. “This is where each orgasm is separate and distinct, and in between orgasms the woman is either partially aroused or not aroused at all, and the time between them can be fairly substantial.”

The other type she refers to as “sequential multiples”. This is where, she says, orgasms are a few minutes apart with fairly consistent arousal in between fairly distinct orgasms. Finally, she mentions the “serial multiple”. “These orgasms are only a few seconds apart and often feel like one large orgasm with spasms of different intensities,” she says.

Do multiple orgasms feel the same as ‘normal’ orgasms?

“It feels like something is lingering, as if it hasn’t finished yet,” says Naomi*, describing what a multiple orgasm feels like for her. “When the initial orgasm arrives, there is this tingling sensation as if it isn’t over. Then, there is a small dip that sometimes requires a little extra stimulation, and then an orgasm arrives again, and then there is a repetition, three or four times, with everything in the span of 15 minutes tops.”

Conversely to men, women are capable of coming in quick succession. Whereas a man might need a considerable rest period before going again, women don’t. Some women may consider multiple orgasms exactly as described above, one after the other in quick succession.

For others, a multiple orgasm might be one, then another shortly after, both separate of each other. Others may even consider several orgasms in one sex session to be multiple orgasms.

Patsy*, 54, is another woman who experiences multiple orgasms, up to five in one go, spaced out with a few seconds to up to five minutes between them. These orgasms, however, are not identical to one another.

“Women shouldn’t worry if they don’t have ‘multiple orgasms’. Let’s change how we look at it. It isn’t an ‘achievement’. It’s an experience.”

“I usually have 2-3 orgasms when having sex with my partner and 4-5 when I’m alone, although the later ones can be elusive,” she says. “The first 2-3 usually come in quick succession, with subsequent ones taking longer.” The first two, she continues, are always very different from each other. “The first is more intense, bigger, but the second is sweeter and often more enjoyable,” she continues. “Once I get to the fourth or fifth they are more ordinary.”

Other women, such as Anna*, say the orgasms they have in multiples are similar to singular ones. “It feels like it could go on forever,” she says. “Once you’re in a streak it comes easily. The orgasm itself doesn’t feel that different, but what I remember most is that I feel lightheaded afterwards.”

Should I worry if I can’t have multiple orgasms?

You know what you consider to be multiple orgasms if you have them. After all, the experiences Anna, Patsy and Naomi describe are very different in many ways. The problem with labels is that if a person feels something, or doesn’t, or doesn’t consider themself to be able to have multiple orgasms, they might believe something is missing.

“Women shouldn’t worry if they don’t have ‘multiple orgasms’,” says Dr. Juliana. “Let’s change how we look at it. It isn’t an ‘achievement’. It’s an experience. When felt, it’s amazing, but it doesn’t mean you have achieved orgasmic nirvana and it doesn’t mean your sexual life isn’t amazing if you experience orgasms as a singular sensation.”

As Dr. Juliana points out, women already have so much we’re expected to worry about – adding multiple orgasm to the list would be silly. “The pressure,” she continues, “is often rooted in how it is perceived as the amount of love and generosity your partner gives you. I think the competition among women is there, but it’s subtle and mostly unintentional.”

If you don’t have what you would describe as multiple orgasms it doesn’t matter, as long as the sex you do have, if you choose to have sex, is consensual, enjoyable and satisfying.

*Names have been changed

Imogen Robinson

Deputy Editor, The Femedic

Imogen joined The Femedic after working as a news reporter. Becoming frustrated with the neverending clickbait, she jumped at the chance to work for a site whose ethos revolves around honesty and empathy. From reading articles by doctors to researching her own, and discussing health with a huge variety of women, she is fascinated by just how little we are told about our own bodies and women-specific health issues, and is excited to be working on a site which will dispel myths and taboos, and hopefully help a lot of women.

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